Theater Seattle Opera's I puritani and a Letter of the (Other) Day
posted by May 13 at 2:42 PMon
Photo by Rozarii Lynch
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are your last chances to see Seattle Opera's new I Puritani (my review and my farewell to Seattle). I can't tell you which cast to see. Do you want to see the one with all the stunning male singers and one v.v. shitty female lead? or the one with the absolutely splendid female lead and v.v. good male cast? Just kidding, go see the second one, on Friday.
I had a dream last night where I was at this soirée for rich, white opera donors (what a riot those people are), and Seattle Opera General Manager Speight Jenkins spotted me from across the room and dashed over to say, "I need you to come with me; we need to talk, mister." And I totally gave him the Talk to the Hand gesture, a Puerto Rican hip swivel, and a forceful "Absolutely not."
I got this juicy email a few days ago from someone working on the production:
Hi! I just read your review of I Puritani. I can't give you my name since I am working in this opera, but I have to tell you that you are right on, as most of the cast and crew would agree with you. Of course, Larry [Brownlee] is going to be (when he reaches the full maturity of his singing voice, around 45 or 50) a true great, investing the time he does rehearsing as well as simply working on his art.
How many times have we already wondered "why isn't Eglise in the gold cast"? I stand in the wings, working every night, and she simply brings me to tears. If she wasn't already happily married I would court her like the demented fan I am. Moving to New York may get you a better regular run of singers, but DAMN I am glad you saw her perform this piece!
-Secret Opera Worker
With this Riccardo, Mariusz Kwiecien's voice has become strangely coarse since his Giovanni here last season. Someone in the press room—don't remember who—said that Kwiecien had mentioned modeling himself after mid-century baritone Ettore Bastianini. Follia! Bastianini may have been an exciting singer, but he was not a refined one, and his voice was a size bigger than Kwiecien's.
Sidenotes: Is my vision going bad, or was that Mariusz sitting next to Speight Jenkins at the matinee? With all those promotional personal introductions going on around them, can we expect a pet baritone in Seattle's future? And shit, while we're moving new singers into heavier rep innappropriate for their voices, let's go ahead and sign him up for Wotan now. Also who was that other fellow who seemed to be following Kwiecien around? I'm can't say it wasn't his boyfriend, but there's a lot of stuff I probably can't say. Szszszsz!
Lawrence Brownlee takes the insane high F in "Credeasi misera." It's not beautiful, but it's there and it's real. Curious as to what it sounds like?
Even better, here's a splice of nine audio recordings (live, mostly) of other tenors going for that F.
And for those audience members who, like me, are in love with Eglise Gutierrez, good news: She's coming back for Traviata and Lucia. Of course also on the roster for Lucia is Patrizia Ciofi, who's not horrible. It'll be interesting to see who gets favored for the main (and broadcast) cast, but I'm pretty sure I know the answer. In any case, I hope Gutierrez decides to slim down in the middle. Oh, come on—I'm talking about the middle of her voice, but I guess nowadays, the other couldn't hurt.